ARK: Survival Evolved has been one of the most popular games on Steam since it's Early Access launch last year. But the developers eventually realised while crafting and dinosaurs and dragons were part of the appeal, one of the real big drawcards was the ability to have a virtual Hunger Games.
So they created Survival of the Fittest (SotF), a round-based total conversion with faster levelling, gathering, taming, evolution events and tournaments. And guess what? The mode has proved so popular, the developers have now spun it off into it's own free-to-play game.
The game's available in Early Access now, just like ARK. "It was clear that a vast number of survivors, not only enjoyed playing the game mode, but they also enjoyed watching it," the developers wrote.
Unlike ARK: Survival Evolved itself, which is due for a full release this June, SotF will be out by the end of 2017. The free-to-play spin-off is also heavily targeting competitive gamers, with promises of more than US$50,000 in monthly prizes through the Survivor League.
SotF doesn't have any microtransactions or monetisation right now, although players' biggest bugbear is the performance. Reports of appalling frame rates have littered the forums and Steam reviews. One user reported that launch options used to force lower graphics quality in ARK: Survival Evolved don't work in SotF yet.
An unofficial Australian servers has been hosted as well, with the developers working on adding filters and the local server list into SotF (local servers are plentiful for ARK). Only the base forest environment is currently playable in SotF, however, although other creatures and environments are scheduled to be added as the game's development continues.